River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Join The Campaign To Save The Blue Bell

May 2020

The campaign to save the Blue Bell for the community continues despite the challenging times. Her Majesty the Queen herself reminded us recently that we will all meet again. We want Stoke Ferry to have a new hub for our community, a place where people can have a laugh and a chat over a drink or a great meal, that brings people together and hopefully leads to more village activities being planned. Join the campaign by subscribing for updates on our website www.bluebellstokeferry.org We are committed to saving Stoke Ferry’s last pub It is clear from the survey we ran in March that the village really wants a pub as a new hub for village life. At a meeting a couple of weeks ago, the campaign working group committed to continuing the effort to save The Blue Bell for the village, on the back of overwhelming support from the village. The working group has made great progress on a draft business plan and financial forecast. With the help of the Plunkett Foundation, we are setting up a Community Benefit Society as the formal organisation to bid for and run The Blue Bell. Of course, the current circumstances mean that we will not be able to run pop-up pubs to try out different approaches and that’s why we’re running the virtual pub quiz! How you can help We need help to complete our plans for the premises. If you have expertise in any of the following and might be able to help, email info@bluebellstokeferry.org: • Property renovation • Plumbing • Electrical work • Graphic design (for print materials) • Hospitality • Producing entertainment • Company secretarial work

Raising the funds Most importantly, we need to raise the funds to buy and renovate the pub. We understand that many people will be in a very different personal situation today than they were just a couple of weeks ago and so we have decided not to ask for money at present but instead to ask for non-binding pledges to help us use this period of lockdown to plan and progress with funding applications as best we can. There are grants and loans available that will help, but at some point, when the current health emergency is over, we will need to raise a good deal of money from villagers and others who want to support the pub and in effect become part owners. Investors will get a vote as members of the Community Benefit Society. The minimum investment will be £50. We may need to raise more than £100,000 from the sale of shares, so we hope that many people will want to provide more support for the pub. We aim to issue a share prospectus very soon that will give all the information you need to make a decision. Please give some thought now to whether you could invest (all being well) and do contact us if you would like to know more. Thanks to the Parish Council, The Blue Bell has been made an ‘Asset of Community Value’ by Kings Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council. This is very helpful indeed, but we still need to work quickly to raise all the funds we need so that we can make a bid for the pub in the summer. Keep in touch You can contact the Campaign working group at any time through our Facebook page, on www.bluebellstokeferry.org or by emailing info@bluebellstokeferry.org.

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